30+ runners on a perfect night in Leadville!
We opened our Leadville training compound once again to continue this great tradition of running the last 20ish of the Leadville Trail 100 course 2 weeks out from the race. This year, I opened the invitation a bit and ended up with 30 and change on the confirmed and maybe list. This year I upgraded the amenities to include showers and outdoor camping. Got a lot of takers and our yard looked like a campground in no time.
Everyone arrived between 5 and 7 to hang out, eat a bit, and chatter. I summoned them all at 7:30 to the driveway for a little instruction followed by piling into 4 shuttle vehicles. It was a tight fit but we got everyone in and over to Fish Hatchery.
We got a group photo and then I set off on the run at 8 PM followed by a huge pack of runners that consumed the road to the Powerline. Right at the Powerline, we picked up an additional set of runners who opted to meet us there. At this point, it got hard to keep track of how many folks we had!
We spread out up Powerline given the size of the group and the variety of paces. But everyone grouped back up near the summit to get lights situated and prepare for some blazing downhill. I called this a “no drop” run so I felt responsible for getting everyone through the unmarked course. So I held back and made sure the key turns like the one on to the Colorado Trail were made by all. This was a no aid run but I had a surprise in store. I got George, Tim, and Kara to come to Timberline with beer, food, and water for a back-of-the-truck mini-aid station. The group pulled in and the runners hit the beer shots while some of the old pros, like Scott Jaime, grabbed a full can and did it right.
From there, it was a nice jog out along the lake under a full moon. A few people decided to drop out at May Queen so I was running solo along the lake. But it wasn’t long before I started coming up on runners along the shore making their way. I led the “sweep pack” around the lake picking up more runners as we went. I could see the lead pack over along the east shore while we were at the Tabor Boat Ramp. I was bummed not to be running with all of them but I felt right but making sure everyone had a solid, safe, and successful run back to my house.
We turned up the Boulevard and made the home stretch back into my neighborhood. I waited at the turns to be sure the final folks made it through and then we brought it home to a brightly lit cabin in the distance. My wife had prepared hot foods for the runners and had been serving for a while before I arrived. Everyone was drinking, chatting and watching some Olympic action on the TV.
Personally, it was a solid run for me. Didn’t feel like 20 miles at all. Just felt casual and natural. My hip was bugging me post race though. I think its hardening up a bit with this taper/recovery. I wore my new Hoka Stinson Evos and they did well. They will be on me at the start line.
Thanks to everyone that came out! It was a great night out there. Perfect weather. Great folks. I know this is becoming something because we had a bunch of non-LT100 racers who said they wouldn’t miss it. Good luck to all my friends racing in 2 weeks. The work is done now.
Lisa Marie Erikson
Late Joiners – Met us in route
Honorable Mentions – Ran it early
I went 21.55 miles with an elevation gain of 2,409 feet in 04:43:37, which is an average pace of 13:10. View my GPS data on Garmin Connect.